Friday, June 19, 2009
Day 5: "A Few Stops"
The silence is epic in The Valley of the Gods
States: Colorado - New Mexico - Arizona - Utah - Arizona
Weather: Beautiful and yes, Windy as ... !
Race Across America Bikers Seen: 6
Burgers: 31.30 (oops...)
The list of events for today is huge, but there is one thing we forgot to mention about last night... While in the Black Canyon of the Gunnison, we were brought out of our half-asleep daze by an animal, which decided to lean against the tent (right on MJ's arm), giving us all a bit of a start. Did we mention that animals are really friendly out here?
So as for today, we woke early, and as it turns out, we didn't have to pay for our campsite because we have a National Parks Pass. That thing has saved us a ton of money! After we left, we went immediately into the town of Montrose, Colorado. We were able to use the showers at the local aquatic center, and trust me, showers were definitely a necessity.
Next came the rather long, but breathtakingly beautiful drive to Telluride. There's currently a bluegrass festival going on here, which made for added traffic and tons of fortysomething hippies. It was pretty cool though, as it magnified the already very eclectic nature of the town, which is situated in an awe-inspiring mountain valley. In Telluride, we met MJ's friend Taylor and two of her friends, Chris and Ginny. We all ate lunch together and took a ride up the (free!) mountain gondola, which made for some amazing views. It was nice to get some real interactions going with someone other than ourselves, no offense to us.
After Telluride came the drive to the Four Corners. The drive gave us some amazing views of the desert, but we all decided that the Four Corners Monument was wholly uninspiring and a bit too touristy for our taste.
Next came the drive into Monument Valley. This drive was absolutely awesome, and we ended up off the main roadway and onto a dirt road that led us into the Valley of the Gods. We did some climbing here and got some amzing pictures of the rock formations. It was almost eerie here though because the silence was mind blowing! There was literally NO noise other than our own footsteps, and you could talk with an "inside voice" (thank you kindergarten), and could easily be heard more than 200 feet away. Also, while we were climbing, this guy pulls up in a Penske truck and proceeds to get out and ask us if he can climb with us. We apprehensively say "sure," and begin a good conversation with him. We eventually learned a good deal about him, mainly that his name was Nick and that he was driving this truck from California to Maryland hauling backseats of vans for the Race Across America event (if you're confused at all by this, ask about it later).
Finally came the last and longest drive of the day. Did I mention we drove a ton today? While driving, we saw the sunset over Monument Valley, and got gas in a town where the only visible life was at the country and western karaoke bar across the street... enough said.
We eventually made it all the way to Meteor Crater. There was absolutely nothing in the area, and we elected to camp of of this primitive desert access road. It was completely pitch black (literally the blackest night I have ever seen), and it was once again VERY windy. We pitched the tent in the sandy dirt, and attempted to get some sleep after a very long day.